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Full text of "Technocracy: Howard Scott - Science vs. Chaos"

There IS Something New 
Under the Sun 

TECHNOCRACY — new, startling, fundamental — 
has invaded the mind of America with unparal- 
leled positiveness and force. 

Its original research summary, a simple state- 
ment of facts about the critical period through 
which we are u s.;ing, startled the world. The 
questions it posed still remain unanswered. 

Technocracy not only made the American people 
fact-conscious, but confronted the entire nation with 
the necessity for fundamental social change. 

Technocracy's position is based on facts, not 
rhetoric. Its message has cut deep. It has reached 
more intelligent and functionally important citizens 
in all walks of life than any other organization, 
and continues to do so. 

Technocracy's scientific approach to the social 
problem is unique, and its method is completely 
new. It speaks the language of science, and recog- 
nizes no authority but the facts. 

In Technocracy we see science banishing forever 
unemployment, hunger and insecurity of income. 

In Technocracy we see science replacing an 
economy of scarcity with an economy of abundance. 

In Technocracy we see functional competence 
displacing grotesque and wasteful incompetence, 
facts displacing guesswork, order displacing dis- 
order, industrial planning displacing industrial 

Technocracy is the attempt of science to build a 
civilization worthy of the intelligence of Man. 

Technocracy concerns itself with the continental 
area of America alone. TECHNOCRACY marks a 
turning point in American history — the birth of a 
greater America. TECHNOCRACY contains all the 
elements out of which great movements are made. 

Howard Scott, the founder and Director of Tech- 
nocracy, Inc., presents in the following pages a 
diagnosis of the existing disorder and the design 
of a New America. 

Copyright 1938, Technocracy. Inc. 




The following pamphlet represents the substance of 
an address given b.vlloward Scott before the National 
Technological. Congress and the Continental Convention 
on Technocracy at the Morris Hotel, Chicago, 111. in 
June, 1933. 

Men Must Live 

WHAT constitutes living? There are many and 
varied definitions, but, from the standpoint of the 
technologist, living is a term used to describe the 
functioning of any organism on the area in which it exists. 
Let us view living, then, in terms of function. All organic 
mechanisms require food, water, air, and solar radiation in 
some form or other. They are capable of motion, various 
metabolic changes, and reproduction. The human mech- 
anism is differentiated functionally from all others in 
that it is the only one of the entire series capable of pro- 
ducing energy-consuming devices outside of its organic 
entity. The history of the human race may well be stated 
in terms of the ability of man to consume ever-increasinK 
amounts of extraneous (non-human) energy. The lim- 
itation and stabilization of that rate of increase is the 
scientific problem of the not far distant future. 

The human mechanism consumes energy in its pro- 
cesses of osmosis and diffusion; when such processes 
have reached a total consumption of 775,000 kilogram- 
calories per kilo of weight, these processes cease and 
I he ensuing state is known as death. This cessation of 
osmosis and diffusion will occur on this consumption of 
energy, regardless of whether this consumption is attain- 
ed in forty or eighty years, although death as a rule 
occurs due to other reasons previous to reaching the 
above critical total energy consumption. The human 
being radiates 912 small calories per square meter of 
surface per twenty-four hours, regardless of size, sex, 
age or disposition. It is not to be assumed here that all 
orgranic life has the same energy factors per unit of 



weight in time. Cold-blooded animals, such as the snake 
or lizard, consume not in excess of 225,000 small calories 
per kilo of weight in their functioning lifetime. 

Rates of Doing Work 

LET us consider a few comparisons in the rate of doing 
work, i. e., expending energy. 

The Khufu pyramid at Ghizeh has 2,300,000 blocks of 
stone weighing 5,900,000 tons; it required the labor of 
100,000 men several months each year for twenty years 
to build this pyramid. If John F. Wallace had started in 
1904 to dig the Big Ditch across the Isthmus of Panama 
at the same rate of doing work, the ,iob would have been 
still under way in the year 2007, but not with John F. 
Wallace or any of the others who had started it. Even 
assuming that the knowledge of sanitation had been 
developed, under that rate of doing work, the problem 
would be. just as difficult. 

The Constitution of this country was written with a 
sickle and a spade. It took ninety-six man-hours to spade 
an acre of ground. If there had been no change in the 
rate of doing work, we would still have to live under the 
conditions of the Greeks, Egyptians, and Middle Ages. 
The things around us today are not possible under that 
former rate. 

In ancient Egypt the currency was wheat. In the evo- 
lution of money, various commodities have been used suc- 
cessively: copper, silver, and gold. They started mining 
silver lead ores at Laurion around the time of the first 
Olympiad in 776 B. C. By 430 B. C. the hills of Attica 
were denuded of timber to be used in smelting silver ore. 
Mines were worked to depths as great as 600 feet. There 
was no hoisting machinery, so access to these mines 
was obtained by means of ladders. The miners carried 
the ore up out of the mines on their backs. Due to the 
fact that many of the openings in the mines were too 
small to permit the passage of an adult, the children of 
slaves were used extensively in these mining operations. 


Adult slaves, chained in gangs of ten or twelve, worked in 
the larger openings in hand extraction of the ore deposit. 
Similar methods were used in the Seguntheum mines of 
ancient Spain. Under these methods of hand mining, a 
definite upper limit was soon reached, and this rate 
remained practically constant over long periods of time. 

Energy and Physical Equipment 

I n the fifteenth century, in the Saxon mines, the intro- 
' duction of gunpowder opened up new tunneling meth- 
ods and went beyond the old methods' limit of the rate 
of doing work. 

Over a long period of social history, from the time of 
the ancients to the invention of the steam engine, the rate 
of doing work, or the consumption of extraneous energy, 
remained practically constant; i. e., of the order of mag- 
nitude of 2000 kilogram-calories per capita per day. 
Modern China and India are contemporary examples of 
this same rate of doing work. When idealists speak of 
China today, they say, "If only we could raise the stand- 
ard of living of those 470 millions of Chinese to that of 
our own." 

Such idealism is foolish, for, due to the enormous 
population of China and the very limited supplies of coal, 
iron ore and other essential mineral products, it is quite 
impossible to increase the standard of living of the Chi- 
nese very greatly above that which they now have. It 
is interesting to consider the problem of famine in China. 
Aside from a few railroads and rivers, almost the only 
existing means of transport is the coolie. Consequently, 
in an area of famine, even though an abundance of food 
might be available at the railroad or river, it would not 
be possible by means of coolies to deliver food to the 
famine area at a distance greater than seventy-five miles 
from such a source of supply. This is due to the fact that, 
in making the trip of seventy-five miles and return, a 
coolie would require for his own sustenance- all the food 
he had originally started with. 


The ancient agriculturist was the person who pro- 
vided the majority of energy for the social system of his 
time ; in the old agrarian societies approximately ninety- 
three per cent of the total energy consumed was in the 
form of sustenance. Today seven per cent of the energy 
consumed in this country is for sustenance and ninety- 
three per cent goes to the operation of our physical equip- 
ment. The whole texture of the social fabric is altered. 

Technical Processes Alter Rate 

ONE hundred years ago we had a population of slightly 
over twelve millions. In the United States at that 
time seventy-five trillion B. T. U.'s of extraneous energy 
were consumed per annum. Our population at the last 
census was 122 millions, and in 1929 the energy consump- 
tion for this country was approximately 27,000 trillion 
B. T. U.'s. Thus in 100 years our population increased 
approximately tenfold, while our total extraneous energy 
consumption increased 353 times. This change has re- 
sulted from the introduction of many new technical 

Napoleon introduced tin cans. In 1929 we produced 
over twenty-two billion tin containers on this Continent, 
and 4,200,000,000 glass containers. Campbell's Soup 
Company is the largest consumer of tin cans in the world. 
In this same year 500 million tin cans were used by this 
one company in packing tomato soup alone. 

All of these things are evidences of a great change 
in the rate of doing work. That rate has been accelerated 
in time. In 1896 William Jennings Bryan made his 
"Cross of Gold" speech. At that time there were 180,000 
miles of American railroads, and almost 900,000 em- 
ployes. In the meantime, the railroads in this country 
have grown in mileage, reaching the peak in 1916 with 
254,000 miles. The peak in employment in American 
railroads was reached in 1920 with a total of 2,100,000. 
Since that time the trend in railroad employment has 
been, with minor oscillations, continuously downward; 
the figure was 919,000 in March, 1933. 


Labor Power Displaced 

Thirty years ago, on the Rutherford Branch of the 
Reading Railroad, a single freight train hauled 1100 tons of 
freight and required sixteen to twenty-four hours with a 
crew of six men to make the division run. The subse- 
quent development of railroad motive power shows a far 
different picture. In 1928 the K-l type of locomotive 
was introduced into this division. This engine hauled 
7500 tons on that same division in four to six hours with 
a crew of five men. The net result of this increase in 
efficiency is that all of the men who were originally fire- 
men are now unemployed, and all of the firemen's jobs 
are held by ex-locomotive engineers. 

On the Lehigh, from New York to Buffalo, fast 
freight trains used to require two locomotives and a 
third was employed for express. Now a single K-l type 
locomotive hauls the fast freight more quickly than the 
old express. Consequently a single K-l type with one 
crew is doing the work formerly done by three locomo- 
tives and two train crews. 

If we had the entire motive power of the American 
railroads modernized to the K-l type or better, we would 
require only a very small number of the total railroad 
employes of 1929 to operate our railroads. We could 
further eliminate overhead if we abolished the present 
system of freight classifications and replaced it by a sys- 
tem similar to the parcel post of the United States Gov- 
ernment. With such a combination of improved motive 
power and classification system, we could operate our 
railroads on 1929 volume with less than 500,000 

Glass blowers used to be "born" into their occupations, 
until the engineer came along and devised a machine that 
could blow glass. This machine rapidly eliminated the 
glass-blower and represented the state of development 
the industry had attained by 1920. At that time many 


people thought the mechanization of industry was at an 
end. Then Colburn introduced the tech-hological process 
in glass manufacture, in which glass is no longer blown, 
but extruded in one continuous strip. Practically no 
human effort is required. One human being is needed to 
watch the control board. God didn't make him good 
enough to rival this machine in any other capacity. 

The sheet process in steel manufacture used to be a 
hot and arduous one. That is gone. Now the job is quite 
clean and the running of a modern sheet steel plant re- 
quires the services of twelve men on the control bridge. 
Such a mill rolls sheets ninety-six inches wide at a rate 
as high as 760 feet per minute. All the human being 
has to do is watch the controls and read a magazine. 

Scientific Approach 

I AM giving you these illustrations for a purpose, be- 
cause this is r.n entirely different approach to the social 
problem. We are not investigating or discussing human 
antagonisms. We are, instead, finding out how to do 
things functionally. The new method of functioning has 
come about not because we have a Price System but be- 
cause of technology and its consequent production of 
change. Prior to the introduction of science and tech- 
nology social change had been only a symptomatic sort, 
such as changes in beliefs, morals, ethics, and dynasties. 
The water in a river flows, but, if one looks at the same 
river in succeeding years, »t shows in general very little 
alteration. This the physicist would call a steady state, 
since, although the water moved, the river shows no 
appreciable change. The same comparison may be used 
socially. Prior to the introduction of modern science and 
technology all social systems show very slight change! in 
the dynamic sense as to the amount a.nd ways and means 
of action, change in the technique of the means whereby 
men live. These past systems, may be said to rep- 
resent a social steady state. It is only since and 
because of the introduction of technological procedures 


that human social systems are undergoing extensive 
dynamic changes. 

What I. Wealth? 

NOW let us consider one of the most amazing of human 
inventions, wealth. 

We define a Price System to be any social system 
whose means of exchange is based upon the use of one 
or more commodities as units of value. Price System 
wealth is in turn expressed in terms of the units of value 
and is negotiated in the more advanced stages by means 
of certificates of debt, gold, silver, or other readily port- 
able commodities, but today more often mere pieces of 
paper. Ultimately, under an advanced Price System, the 
only valid wealth is monetary wealth, which in turn con- 
sists of certificates of debt. Therefore the only way to 
create wealth under such a system is by the creation of 
debt. Stocks, bonds, etc., are debt claims and must be 
paid in interest and principal. Interest provides expan- 
sion, allowing the continuous creation of debt. 

At this moment there' are in existence in this country 
238 billion dollars of debt claims. As long as this Price 
System continues, these debt claims will remain valid. 
Abrogate these claims and you abrogate the Price Sys- 
tem. The one basic rule of procedure under a Price Sys- 
tem is that one must create debt claims against others 
faster than debt claims are created by others against him. 
If he does not succeed in doing this, he does not remain 
in business. 

In the physical world, wealth, if one should wish to 
use the term at all, would be defined in terms of use, or 
the rate of consumption. Thus under a Price System the 
possession of the bonds of an automobile company would 
constitute financial wealth ; whereas, in . the physical 
sense, wealth as regards, say, automobiles would consist 
in being able to use them. Wealth in this sense consists 
not in the ownership of a car but in the act of wearing 
one out. 



Science Now Has Social Objective 

THE scientist views all the Price System concepts as non- 
sense, because in the physical world, which incidentally 
is the only world we can deal with, there is no such thing 
as value. There are, instead, only qualitative and quan- 
titative analyses and measurements, such as size, weight, 
energy content, velocity, temperature, chemical composi- 
tion, etc. These things can be measured and expressed 
numerically, but are not matters of value. The technolo- 
gist is blamed to a certain extent because, in his creation 
of energy-consuming devices, he has played a mean trick 
on the Price System that nurtured him. Today every alert 
technologist knows that, whereas up to the present, in 
this country and elsewhere, scientific pursuits have been 
to a considerable extent cloistered, sporadic, and without 
objective, the concomitant technology has so altered social 
conditions as to set up a unidirectional social evolution. 
And in so doing technology has produced such an array 
of unsolved problems that the scientist, whether he likes 
it or not, is being forced out of his cloistered seclusion. 
Science itself, for the first time, must concern itself with 
the problem of a social objective. The technologist cre- 
ated energy-consuming devices which, as a result of cu- 
pidity in exploitation, have compelled in turn the further 
introduction and development of technological procedure. 
So, quite unwittingly, you see, the technologist has sprung 
another trick upon the entrepreneurs. For, if they con- 
tinue to increase technical devices on this area, there will 
be but one outcome. For this there is no precedent. 
Science and technology have created their own ancestors. 
And for the first time circumstances will make it pos- 
sible for us to live without the entrepreneur. 

America Is Unlike Europe 

I AM trying to give you a general background. In Rus- 
' sia throughout 1917 — by way of contrast — ninety-two 
per cent of the population lived on the land. The conver- 



sion of energy per capita on that area was of a low order 
of magnitude. Malpatre, in his book, "Coup d' Etat," 
points out that a handful of men were able to effect the 
change, taking over the power plants, telephone control, 
etc., of Petrograd. A technologist asks how many tele- 
phones there were, for instance, in Petrograd in 1917. 
The order of magnitude, in terms of the number of tele- 
phones installed and the number of kilowatts of electric 
power, was that of Passaic, New Jersey. The telephones 
and kilowatts of electric power of Newark, New Jersey, 
at the same time exceeded that of all Russia. The prob- 
lem was really a small one compared with ours here. 

Italy, similarly, has not the resources, land equipment, 
etc., for the introduction of Technocracy — not in Italy as 
an isolated unit, but only as a part of integrated Europe. 
Italy has sulphur, mercury, and hydro-electric power. 
She has no coal, iron.oil'.nor most of the mineral resources 
necessary to industry. Fascism in Italy has consisted in 
the consolidation of all the minor rackets into one major 

Compared with England 

Great Britain, too, has many movements for social 
betterment. Great Britain is changing and is seri- 
ously groping in a blind effort to meet the consequences 
of that change. But Great Britain's coal mines operate 
at an output of 0.8 ton per man per day, as compared 
with America's average of five tons per man per day. 
While, according to British geologists, only six per cent 
of the original reserve of Britain's coal has thus far been 
renioved, they are mining in England shallow coal seams 
as thin as thirty inches, and thicker seams at depths as 
great as 3500 feet. The remaining iron ore in Great 
Britain is of such low grade that for smelting purposes an 
equal amount of imported high grade ore must be added 
to the ore produced domestically; that is, fifty-six per 
cent foreign beneficiation is necessary. 

If coal were mined in Great Britain at the same rate per 
man as in the United States, there would be another mil- 



Hon unemployed miners to contend with. Sir George 
Paish and I have had several discussions about technolog- 
ical procedure in England. The British wanted to raise 
their standard of livelihood to the American level — with 
the same rate of production as we have here, by area, 
space, etc. In automotive transportation ninemillion cars 
would be required to raise England to our standard. Assum- 
ing that existing plants and.structures remained the same, 
there would not be sufficient room to park this number of 
vehicles and certainly not enough to operate them. You 
have that condition in many parts of the world. Foreign 
trade is founded on that type of fallacy. It is not possible 
to change the other countries and to make them like 
this one. 

Unemployment and Debt Claims 

WHAT has been going on in this country during the 
last decade? 

Since 1920 the production per man-hour as shown in 
69,000 establishments, as compiled in the statistics of the 
U. S. Labor Bureau and the Industrial Conference Board, 
has been rising continually. Since 1930, to May 1 of 1933, 
the production per man-hour has risen 39.2 per cent. 

What is the significance of this? According to figures 
checked by the Alexander Hamilton Institute, there were 
17,000,000 unemployed May 1, 1933. A recovery to the 
1929 level of production of goods and services would re- 
sult in the full time reemployment of only 5,000,000 of 
those now unemployed. All we have to do is to increase 
that rate, and Roosevelt and the present administration 
in the National Industrial Recovery Act will step on the 
gas. The National Industrial Recovery Act does some 
beautiful things. It says to the bondholders that there 
will be a guarantee of interest and principal. It tells 
widows and orphans they will be cared for. To man- 
ufacturers it says that profits will be increased, the 
market guaranteed, and production levelled off. 

It is doubtful if any of these things will be accom- 



plished, except the latter. It is certain that not all of 
them will be accomplished, because several of them are 
mutually exclusive. If you level off American industry, 
there is no chance to create debt fast enough to operate 
the physical equipment. If you can not create debt, you 
cannot maintain a Price System. Technology throws 
people out of work. It is wiping the bottom out of all 
values. If you eliminate the possibility of growth and 
therefore can not continue to create debt, then the inter- 
est rate and return on investments will approach zero. 
Under such a condition it would be possible, in fact prob- 
able, that if you did deposit money in a bank, you would 
not be able to get the same amount out, since the bank 
would have to charge for the privilege of depositing. 
How can we continue to operate under this fallacious 
financial setup ? 

What We Have, What We Might Have 

/"NN THE other hand, the operation of this continent 
^■^ from a technological viewpoint has tremendous pos- 
sibilities. On this side of the picture Technocracy has 
made some interesting calculations. If the wheat Of this 
country had to be produced with a spade, it would take 
5,000,000 men to produce 800,000,000 bushels. If the 
soil were tilled with the best equipment, it would take 
less than 5000 men to produce 800,000,000 bushels per 
annum. Or consider the subway system ; the total num- 
ber of people employed in a subway fare collection sys- 
tem is greater than the total number of employees actu- 
ally operating the mechanical equipment of the system, 
including the power plant. From an energy standpoint 
it is cheaper to provide free local transportation. 

This type of calculation requires that we dispense 
with a number of old habits of thought. Take the matter 
of the kind of income we could afford to have. We have 
been conditioned to the idea that jobs are different and 
men are different and therefore justly receive different 
compensations. Consider, however, the fact of the enor- 



mous expenditure of effort necessary to keep the records 
to maintain this differentiation of income among the 
people of this Continent. It becomes technically unsound 
to attempt to differentiate between incames when there 
is plenty for all, because of the cumbersomeness and cost- 
liness of such practice. We have arrived at this, not 
from any philosophy of right and wrong or human equal- 
ity, but from the simple technical reason that to do other- 
wise would cost too much. 

How would such a system work ? In all social orders, 
until today, men have been penalized to live. Some par- 
ticular group has always discovered that under the rules 
of the game it could gain advantage. Means to prevent 
this did not exist. If technologists were operating this 
country, they could not afford to penalize anyone. The 
cost of collecting would be greater than the advantage 
gained and, moreover, this would upset the income bal- 
ance of the country. 

Energy Vs . Money 

UNDER a technological system, money as we now know 
it would no longer exist. Debt could not be created. 
There would be a medium of distribution but not one of 
debt value or exchange. This medium of distribution 
would have to satisfy the following conditions: 

1. It would designate by functional number the 
goods or services purchased. 

2. It would designate the purchaser by function 
and by sex, and show whether the purchase was 
made prior to, during, or after the fulfillment of 
his energy contract (service period with the 


3. The point of origin and point of consumption of 
the goods or services would be shown numeri- 

4. It must be non-exchangeable between individuals 
and consequently not susceptible to being lost, 
stolen, or bestowed as charity. 



5. It will be valid only for the time period for which 

issued, which period is determined by the time 

required to make one complete industrial cycle 

(for the North American Continent this period is 

about two years). One's income, being valid only 

for the time period for which issued, can not be 

saved. It can only be spent or else forfeited. 

The purchasing power of the individual would depend 

upon the operation of the physical equipment and would 

be a prorated division of the energy consumed 

in the given area during the given time period, 

after the deduction of that part of the total energy spent 

in the construction of plants, etc., and fixed charges for 

such other items as are not directly distributable to indi 

viduals. Thus the income of the individual can be altered 

only by a change in the rate of expenditure of energy 

by the social mechanism as a whole. 

The only way for an individual under Technocracy 
not to participate in this income would be : 

1. To leave the Continent permanently. 

2. To commit suicide. 

3. To induce the state to execute him. 

Energy Certificates 

THESE energy certificates, issued to individuals, would 
' resemble somewhat a cross between a traveler's check 
and an ordinary bank check. They would be similar to a 
bank check in that they would represent no denomination 
until a purchase of goods or services had been made, and 
the denomination of the cost of that particular transaction 
would then be indicated on the certificate surrendered in 
the process. They would resemble a traveler's check in 
that they would be issued to a particular individual and 
would not be valid except as identified by that individual. 
Hence they could not be stolen, exchanged, or given 
away, and would be useless in the hands of any other 

On this certificate would be a number, according 



to a system similar to the library cataloging system, 
identifying the person to whom issued by function and 
geographical position. 

Diagonally would be a color band, one diagonal to 
designate a male, the other a female. The holder of a 
male certificate would not be allowed to purchase female 
apparel, and vice versa. Thus, one's relations to the 
opposite sex would depend entirely on personal merits, 
because for the first time it would be impossible to 
purchase favors. 

The background of this certificate would be one of 
three colors. If the first, it would signify that the holder 
had not yet begun the fulfillment of his or her energy 
contract for services to theTechnate. If a second color, it 
would signify that the holder was engaged in the fulfill- 
ment of such an energy contract. If a third color, that 
would signify that such fulfillment had been completed 
and the owner had retired. 

The income of the individual would continue 
until death. This income is not to be thought of as 
in any manner a payment or reward for services done. 
True, the individual is expected and required to fulfill a 
period of service according to his capacity and ability 
during his lifetime, but the income is a per capita share 
of the net available energy and is not allotted on a man- 
hour participation basis. 

The Four-Hour Day 

ONCE such a system was beyond the preliminary stages 
of reconstruction, such a period of service should not 
exceed four hours per day, four consecutive days at a 
shift, and 165 days per year. For a period of about 
twenty years, say, from the ages of twenty-five to forty- 
five, this period of service would be known as the fulfill- 



ment of the energy contract. The income received, how- 
ever, made possible by virtue of our possession of energy 
reserves, would be several times the present average in- 
come in this country, and many times greater than any 
possible contribution of services by any individual. 

Purchasing would be effected by means of surrender- 
ing energy certificates properly identified in return for 
goods and services. The cost of any particular commod- 
ity would be determined entirely by the energy consumed 
in the process of its production and delivery to the point 
of consumption. There would be no profits. The entire 
physical equipment of this Continent would, of course, 
be owned and operated bythe Technate. Every item of 
goods or services would, in the functional numeration system 
mentioned above, bear its own particular catalog number. 
Should an energy certificate be surrendered in payment 
for any commodity or service, it would be cancelled by 
having punched through its face the functional number 
of the item purchased. It would then be pushed through 
photo-electric control recording machines, which de- 
duct from the inventory the item purchased, and simul- 
taneously, from the purchaser's account, the amount of 
the item purchased. 

Since the system of certificates and accounting used 
would be uniform throughout the Continent, all inventor- 
ies and accounts would be relayed continuously by wire 
to central headquarters, where in this manner would be 
maintained a complete and up-to-the-minute inventory of 
the physical operation of the entire Continent as to rates 
of production, stocks on hand, and rates of consumption. 

The rates of consumption would be ascertained by 
sorting the energy certificates cancelled, such sorting to 
be done photo-electrically, according to the status of the 
purchaser, the geographical division, and the item pur- 
chased, providing the maintenance of complete statistical 
tabulation, even to minute details, of every significant 
physical and social operation. 


An Economy of Abundance 

THE operational as well as the sociological implications 
and possibilities of such a controlled system are as- 
tounding. The quality of goods to be produced would 
no longer be the cheap and shoddy variety turned out at 
present. Instead the criterion by which goods would be 
judged would be the energy cost per unit of service, and 
those goods would be produced which by experimental 
test were found to cost the least energy expenditure per 
unit of service. 

TheTechnatewould not be interested in the expansion of 
consumption for its own sake, since no profits can accrue. 
On the contrary, the need of conserving our raw materials 
would discourage wasteful practices of all kinds. There 
would be no advertising or salesmanship. As any large 
retailer or udvertising concern now knows very well, but 
for such practices the present consumption of goods 
would be considerably reduced. It follows that in a Tech- 
nocracy, where a very ample variety and quantity of only 
the best goods would be available for all, the rate of con- 
sumption, instead of expanding ad infinitum, would prob- 
ably tend to contract, or at at least reach a state of 
equilibrium at a moderately simple mode of living. 

Improvement Under Science 

T horstein Veblen, in "The Theory of the Leisure 
I Class," ably discussed the "canons of conspicuous 
waste" and the "pecuniary canons of taste," as induced 
by the existence of a Price System. Once revoked, as 
they would be under a non-Price System of equal income 
for all, it follows that social rivalry, which seems an 
inherent characteristic of the human species, would have 
to find other means of expressing itself. Consequently, if 
one found it impossible to display one's superiority to the 
Joneses by virtue of being able to live more pretentiously, 
one would be obliged to find some more substantial man- 
ner of self-expression. The chief channel for that would 




be the performance in the social system of a more impor- 
tant or responsible task than that of Jones. 

In matters of design of equipment practically nothing 
would be left unaffected. It goes without saying that the 
most efficient and automatic processes that could be de- 
vised would be used wherever possible. Under such a 
control the use of automatic machinery would not, as 
now, result in the evils of unemployment, but instead 
would lighten the burden- of all by equal amounts. All 
industry, all social functions, would be conceived and 
operated on a Continental scale. This again is not a 
philosophic premise, but is based on the fact that, under 
a high energy system, every individual piece of equipment 
is dependent for its own operation upon the operation of 
the system as a whole. Since this is so, it is imperative 
that the considerations concerning single units be second- 
ary to the prime consideration of the operation of the 
complete mechanism. 

Industrial Integration 

A homely illustration may suffice to make this clear. 
*» Suppose that a group of designing engineers is as- 
signed the task of designing an automobile. One, shall 
we say, is a carburetor expert; a second, an ignition ex- 
pert; a third, a transmission expert, etc. Now it would 
be possible for each of these men to focus his attention 
on his own particular specialty, and create that part as a 
separate entity with a high degree of perfection ; yet the 
complete car, while composed of perfect parts, when 
assembled would perform very imperfectly. This might 
be due, for instance, to the fact that the carburetor was 
of a capacity sufficient for a small car, whereas the de- 
signer of the chassis called for a car twice that size, and 
other similar types of misfits. 

If, however, the procedure had been reversed and it 
had been specified that the car should carry a given num- 
ber of passengers, should perform at a given speed with 
a gasoline consumption of a certain number of miles per 



gallon, then in order to meet these specifications, the 
separate parts may vary in pattern only within strict lim- 
itations. In other words, it is not possible by haphazard 
integration of perfect parts to achieve a perfected whole. 
Conversely, however, if the performance of the whole is 
specified, the limitations of the parts are automatically 

The whole, in the case under consideration, is of 
course the entire social mechanism. The specifications 
are that it shall perform in such a manner as to provide 
economic security with equal income from birth until 
death, at a high energy standard of living, to each and 
every member thereof, at the lowest necessary expendi- 
ture of human effort and non-recurrent natural resources. 
The fulfillment of these specifications automatically 
affects every functional sequence within that social mech- 
anism. As a convenient illustration on this greater scale, 
we may consider the problem of housing 150,000,000 
people at a minimum standard of housing per person. 

Scientific Housing 

"THIS is not a problem in architecture. It is a problem 
' of construction and maintenance of buildings. It in- 
volves a consideration of materials. Materials must be 
chosen of which there are ample quantities, eliminating 
from serious consideration the so-called metal houses 
talked of by some of the modern architects. It demands 
material much more durable than used in houses of today. 
Since a house is an operating mechanism, and therefore 
an energy-consuming device, in order to keep the energy 
cost at a minimum, insulation must be carefully consid- 
ered. This and many more conditions are implied as a 
consequence of the requirement that housing 150,000,000 
people shall, when operated as a whole, fall within given 
operating specifications. 

Attacking the problem of housing in the converse 
sense, as has been customary and is still the basis of most 
of our current architecture, it may be remarked that 



there is no design or composite of designs in existence, in 
the past or present of architecture, adequate to meet the 
above requirements. Architecture, as it is now practiced, 
occupies exactly the same role with regard to the problem 
of housing as did the various experts in the case of the 
automobile mentioned above. When housing is viewed 
as a problem of construction, operation and maintenance 
at a minimum standard for 150,000,000 people, architec- 
ture as it is now constituted, essentially individualistic 
and anarchic, will cease to exist. 

Exactly the same line of reasoning applies to every 
necessary functional sequence from agriculture to educa- 
tion, communication, or public health. 

Era of Peace and Plenty 

I HAVE attempted to point out something of the evolu- 
' tion and the rate of acceleration in the immediate past 
in the technique in the means whereby we live. . I have 
indicated that, due to the introduction of technological 
procedures, which are totally without historic precedent, 
we are witnessing the initiation of a social change which 
is unidirectional and irreversible. I have shown that, due 
to these technological processes, under a Price System un- 
employment has resulted and will continue to increase; 
that the growth curves of industry during the fifty years 
from 1870 to 1920 were expanding at a compound inter- 
est rate, that they have been flattening out, and that this 
process started prior to 1920. This is evidence of indus- 
trial growth maturation. As a consequence unemploy- 
ment will be even more highly accelerated, and the in- 
terest rate will tend to approach zero, due to the inability 
to create further debt. The total consequence of these 
simultaneous trends will be an unprecedented social im- 
passe as long as operation is continued in accordance with 
the rules of the game of a Price System. 

On the other hand, I have pointed out that, with the 
greatest array of productive equipment on the earth's 
surface, with the lion's share of the earth's natural re- 



sources, and with the largest technically trained and 
functionally competent personnel in existence, this Conti- 
nent stands ready to move from an economy of scarcity 
and poverty into an era of peace and plenty. 

It's An Engineering Job 

) HAVE indicated a few of the details of what such a 
' system would be like. I have not inquired as to 
whether you do or do not like the idea. The events that 
are going to occur in this area within the very near future 
are not going to be respecters of human likes or dislikes. 
The problem of operating any existing complex of indus- 
trial equipment is not and can not be solved by a demo- 
cratic social organization. The executive of the tele- 
phone company is not consulted as to whether he likes 
the design of the telephone, nor is the general public. 
With few exceptions, you know nothing at all about a 
telephone except, that by following a certain routine, 
someone answers at the other end of the line. That is all 
you need and, for the most part, all that you want to 

The problem of operating the entire industrial equip- 
ment of thisContinent is a technical problem so far trans- 
scending any other technical problem man has yet solved 
that many individuals would probably never understand 
why most of the details must be one way and not another ; 
but the services of everyone, in the highest capacity at 
which he can perform, would be needed. 

Fortunately, it has been demonstrated that, once the 
basic necessities of economic security have been achieved 
at a not uncomfortable expenditure of personal effort on 
our part, we are so constituted physiologically that, by a 
rapid process of habituation, we find and pronounce such 
circumstances to be good. 




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